Griffins football moves forward

The Griffins football team prepares to take their field for one of their home games this season. Photo courtesy of R.Valentino.

“I believe the team will bounce back and our program will always work towards winning the conference and going to the national playoffs,” said Isaac Collins, head coach of the Seton Hill University football team. “We will make changes in the off-season and look to get the program back on track in the PSAC.”

The SHU men’s football team looks to move forward after the season they endured. The Griffins finished with a record of 0-11 as opposed to the 2016 season when the Griffins finished 5-6. This is not the first time the Griffins finished the season with no wins; in 2012, the Griffins went 0-11.

“The lack of desire in guys wanting to be here was a major struggle that at times, it felt like we were just going through the motions,” said Jarvis McClam, senior sports management major. “Also, the constant coaching changes was tough for us to get a feel for what to expect each semester.”

“Plain and simple, everyone- players, coaches and even administration just have to work harder in order to achieve success going forward,” said Christian Strong, senior journalism new-media major and former editor-in-chief of the Setonian.

Running back Jarvis McClam runs the ball down the field. Photo courtesy of R.Valentino.

An unsatisfying season is something no team is proud of, but it takes a strong group of players and staff to come together as a whole and learn from the outcome to move forward towards the next step in success.

This is one of the key factors of the game the Griffins football team has endured. The team’s willingness shows they will not step down from any challenge and are always looking to enhance their game in the moment.

“We must stay focused on the process of trying to get better each day through training, meetings and games,” Collins said. “If we spend too much time looking ahead to tomorrow and not focusing on today, we will never break the losing cycle our program has experienced during its brief football history.”

Now that the season has ended, the Griffins can look back on their season and reflect on moments that are worth playing for.

During the season, Strong stated the Griffins football team was visited by 13 professional scouts. Some of these scouts were representatives of the NFL and CFL. The top priorities on the scouts’ list was a look at two individual players.

Quarterback Christian Strong sets up the play for the Griffins. Photo courtesy of R.Valentino.

These players included Strong, the Griffins quarterback, and McClam, the Griffins running back. Both two-time captains received attention throughout the course of the season even with a struggling record, something that SHU has never witnessed in all its years. The 2017 season is the first year the Griffins football team has been under close watch by scouts. This is crucial because it is a tremendous confidence booster for younger and future players of the team to keep playing their hardest at all times.

In November 2013, McClam rushed for a season high of 103 yards against Slippery Rock University as a freshman. In November 2014, Strong threw for a total of 739 passing yards in the final three games of his redshirt freshman season as the starting quarterback. This past season, McClam also made the All PSAC Football Teams as a first team running back. McClam broke the single game record for SHU in rushing yards with a total of 291 yards on Senior Day against SRU. The senior was seventh overall in the PSAC for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

The Griffins football team does not stop there in terms of influence on other players.

“I believe special teams make a large impact on the way a game shifts,” said Matt Stewart, punter for the SHU football team. “A big time punt or a long field, hypes my team up.”

Sophomore wide receiver Michael Elardo also made the All PSAC Football Teams in the 2017 season as a second team wide receiver. This is Elardo’s first all-conference award. The sophomore contributed to the team with 59 receptions this season and was ranked sixth in yards and eighth overall in receptions in the PSAC.

The senior members of the Seton Hill University football team pose for a photo with head coach Isaac Collins after being recognized on their Senior Day, which took place Nov. 4. Photo courtesy of R.Valentino.

During any unsatisfying season, the likelihood of conflicts could arise in any band of brothers fighting for the ultimate goal: national playoffs. Every play, practice and player counts in the long-run for a team’s success.

“I believe the strongest move we could make towards success would be an accountable, tight-knit brotherhood,” Stewart said.

Collins stated that some of the players may have been torn apart during the season, but the off-season is where the bond really shows.

Through every game, practice and team experience, the players are always learning to be their best selves they can be. Collins stated that during his time at SHU he plans to develop the student-athletes into stronger individuals.

“I hope our players develop into these four areas: number one, principle leaders, does the right thing even when no one is around; number two, physically, healthy heart leads to healthy mind and body; number three, mentally, master problem solving and stay relevant for a lifetime; and number four, emotionally, be spiritually grounded at all time no matter their circumstances,” Collins said.

As in life and in sports, the result of the next play, outcome of the game and the next opportunity is something no one person or team can promise themselves, but through hard work and dedication, the individuals may prevail. The Griffins will move hazard yet forward.

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